The study of the progression of physiological changes in an addict reveals that these changes hold the best explanation for what causes addiction in a person. However it also has to be acknowledged that psychological factors and associations play just as much a role in causing and maintaining the addiction. In this context the paper explores what causes addiction and approaches to counteract it from a psychological perspective.
To understand what causes addiction it is necessary to probe into the field of associative learning. The Pavlonian conditioning explains how human beings can anticipate and predict events in an order (Antczak, 2011). The basic Pavlonian experiment is that of the dog presented with food which is the unconditional stimulus (US) that evicts an unconditioned response of salivation from the dog. The dog is also presented with a distinctive noise which is the conditioned stimulus (CS). The dog when presented with food and the distinct noise salivates for the food and over time will salivate in response to the conditioned stimulus itself. Classical conditions like that pointed out by Pavlov can be shifted from the dog and the sound to that of the addiction scenario. A person is addicted because they have been triggered with similar forms of cues or conditioned stimulus. A person might smoke marijuana on his way home in the car. Very soon the car acts as a stimulus for the person provoking him to smoke whenever he enters the car. Initially a person may smoke marijuana when he leaves the office from work on a weekend and later his craving is triggered on all days when he uses the car. Classical conditioning can therefore act as triggers to keep the addiction stimulated.